Industry Packaging Covenant admits failure on national targets

Industry based Australian Packaging Covenant (APC) released a major review today but almost all of Australia's key packaging waste and recycling targets are on the path to failure.

The report is a shocking indictment of the voluntary nature of the targets which are to be met by 2025 and reinforces our call for mandatory targets. This is the only rational response to the revelations that recovery of plastic packaging will miss the 70% goal by a large amount; and recycled content of plastic packaging is 3%, way below the 20% target.

The bright spots on banning single use plastic items and accelerating recovery of drink containers under Container Deposit Schemes are the direct result of legislation, not APC action. The report repeats more of the same mantra about voluntary action to develop more plans, encourage investment and collective action. These are just words. Government needs to step in to stop the waste, protect the environment and get the packaging industry on the path to quick results.’

Under the current situation, we’ll get to 2024 and business will seek an extension of time to reach the targets. That would be unacceptable. The Packaging Covenant has missed too many goals and should not be given another chance. We’ll give them credit for admitting failure and being transparent but that must mean they join with us to craft an effective regulatory response now rather than wait till 2025. Last year we issued a Plan B, for this eventuality and it’s time to put it into action. We also note that other countries such as the UK will be imposing a tax on plastic packaging if it has less than 30% recycled content.